Archive for the ‘Science Fiction Romance’ Category

Today I have great pleasure in bringing an interview to you with SE Gilchrist. Suzanne is an Escape Publishing author buddy, who writes steamy science fiction. Thank you for being here today.

SE Gilchrist

SE Gilchrist

Star Pirate’s Justice is your new SF romance novel out with Escape Publishing. Can you tell us a bit about it?


Set in Earth’s future, Star Pirate’s Justice is the second single title story about a group of women who volunteered to terra form a new earth only to find themselves ‘sold’ into ‘slavery’ in an alien world. Only the traders who sold them know the way back to Earth. And to make their lives more difficult there is a war going on for control of an amazing energy source which can not only be used to power intergalactic space travel but can be harnessed to form space/time travel vortexes. (I can hear my youngest son who studies physics yelling at me right about now!)

In this story, Carly is on a mission to find a Darkon warrior turned star pirate and return him to Darkos to face justice. She also believes the star pirate has gate way maps in his possession. But she arrests him at the moment when he is about to make a deal with a smuggler which will give him the evidence he needs to clear his name and reveal the identity of the true traitor. There’s space battles, bounty hunters and a ‘gun’ fight in a market place so this story has more ‘action’ than Legend Beyond the Stars.

Tell us about yourself.

I live in the Hunter Valley of NSW with my three adult children and two dogs and have recently added a rescue cat to our family. I was raised as a Novacastrian then spent quite a few years travelling, mainly around outback Australia. Like many, I’ve been writing off and on for like, forever, however have only taken my ‘muse’ seriously since 2008. My first publication was an erotic, post-apocalyptic short story, Paying the Forfeit, in the Hot Down Under series with Momentum Books on 1st Dec 2012. My next publication was with Escape Publishing, who released my single title and the first book in my sci fi romance series, Legend Beyond the Stars on 10th Jan 2013. Since then I’ve had two novellas published with Escape (also in the same series) and have indie published, two erotic historical/fantasy novellas, one erotic, post-apocalyptic novella and one sweet rural romance short novel. And now of course, Star Pirate’s Justice is out with Escape since 1st Feb 2014.

Tell us a bit about why you write SF romance?

I love it. I love the scope it provides, the ability to make up your own world with its own culture and laws. I love how it gives the opportunity to combine adventure action and romance all in the one package. I also love how a writer can explore controversial subjects, such as: climate change, cloning, genetic dna modelling etc. Plus I cant help myself where alpha warrior type heroes are concerned.

Star Pirate’s Justice is part of an epic saga. Are we going to see more of it in the future?

Definitely. The next single title (fingers crossed) may be out later this year, When Stars Collide. I also have another two novellas in the works (one is Elise’s story and the other introduces some new characters) and the first single title book in the follow on series when some of the women return to Earth, Beyond Aquarius, is also almost completed. Actually, Paying the Forfeit and Storm of Fire are set in this ‘new’ world.

What are you working on at the moment?

Two stories in my sci fi series (as per above) and another rural romance.

What is your writing process? (planner, panster, write every day, write sporadically, writers block etc).

I start with an idea, usually a situation or an event for example for Star Pirate’s Justice my idea was the search for the gate way maps to Earth and a traitor who has been framed. From there my characters evolve, still very much shadowy creatures in my mind. I usually write up to three to five chapters before I sit down and do a story outline and do a fairly indepth study on the characters’ world. I also do a lot of character background / history writing and sometimes I can get new ideas from working on their past that I add into the story. Working on their backstories also helps me with writers block. I would love to say I’m so disciplined I write every day but I’d be lying! I have a full time job and sometimes there is like zero creativity in me some nights. Any leave days and the weekends I try to squeeze in as many writing hours as I can manage.

What do you prefer drafting the story or revising and reworking?

Drafting the story is the bomb for me. I do a lot of revising and re-writing as I go so my first draft is usually fairly ‘clean’. Its a slower process but it works for me.

What part of writing do you find the hardest?

I would have to say writing the love / sex scenes in a fresh way. Sometimes I say ‘insert love scene in .X’s POV say 250 words’ and come back to it later.

What do you plan to work on next?

I have a list. (I know, so anal but I just love spreadsheets) So, after the stories referred to above, I’ve got a New Adult sci fi / futuristic novel I’m also keen to get out there and another fantasy erotic novella in my Bound series.


Thank you so much for your time today, Suzanne. Next interview I’m bringing on the boys!

Star Pirates Justice

Star Pirates Justice


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Author spotlight

It’s my pleasure to bring to you an interview with the lovely Ingrid Jonach. I was very fortunate to read this novel before it hit the press. Donna.

Ingrid Jonach

Ingrid tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in the national capital of Australia – Canberra – with my husband and my pug dog Mooshi.

I have always loved to read and write, so when I finished school I decided to study creative writing at university as part of a degree in professional writing.

While I was at university I self published a picture book called A Lot of Things.

I signed a two book deal with Pan Macmillan Australia soon after for my children’s books The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France.  I most recently had a young adult novel published called When The World Was Flat (and we were in love).

How did you get the Strange Chemistry deal?

I had a wonderful agent working to sell When The World Was Flat (and we were in love) and it was quite a quick process from submission to book deal with Strange Chemistry.

We had knocked on a lot of doors before that book deal though.  I just about burst out of my skin when we got the offer.  I think it came through on email about five in the morning due to the time differences between my agent in the US, Strange Chemistry in the UK and me in Australia.

When the World was flat (and we were in love)? How did that story evolve for you?

I had very clear characterisations for each of my characters from the get-go. The story, however, developed organically around the characters.  It even transitioned from contemporary romance to speculative fiction during the writing and editing process. That was a significant rewrite, as the first draft had already been written when I decided to inject some science fiction.

The book has a very complex set up. How did you keep track of that?

Aside from a timeline of events to ensure no one went to school on a weekend, it was all in my head.  I am not very organised, so a few scribbled notes or a couple of comments through the manuscript served as reminders of plot twists or missing information.

You’ve been writing children’s books previously. How did you end up writing for young adults and is that where you’d like to be writing?

I loved writing for children and I expect I will do it again down the track, but I decided to write a young adult novel because I wanted to tell a love story. I have always been a hopeless romantic and when the mood struck one day I started writing When the World was Flat (and we were in love).

I am working on a couple of other young adult novels, but I can see myself writing in other genres down the track.  For example, the former journalist in me would like to write non-fiction.

What is your writing process? Are you a planner or a panster?

I am normally a pantser, but I am desperately trying to reform!

I have actually been spending the past month meticulously plotting my next manuscript using palm cards.  I thought I would find it frustrating, but I absolutely love it!  I think it will save me a lot of time with revisions.

I used to try to write everyday, but I have a demanding day job and I am usually a bit brain dead by the end of the day (and I am not a morning person). Unless on deadline, I generally write on weekends, which involves sacrificing a lot of time with friends and family unfortunately.

What do you prefer drafting the story or revising and reworking?

A couple of months ago I would have said revisions, but now I think it is plotting!

I just love dreaming up scenes for my work in progress and I think I am enjoying it even more now that I have a system (palm cards).  I used to just scribble scenes on pieces of paper (that I would promptly misplace) or in my phone (which would never be read again).

What part of writing do you find hardest?

I do really love revisions, but they can be very difficult.  It is like rewiring your brain.  I admit I often forget which characters or scenes were removed from When the World was Flat (and we were in love) during edits with my agent or Strange Chemistry.

What do you plan to work on next?

I am looking forward to writing my third young adult manuscript, which I am currently plotting.  I am also hoping that my second young adult manuscript, which is with my agent, is picked up for publication.  It is a bit early to tell you about them, aside from them both being young adult sci fi romance and being loosely linked to When the World was Flat (and we were in love).

Book Details

When the World was Flat (and we were in love)

Author: Ingrid Jonach

Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15767908-when-the-world-was-flat

Available in hardcover, paperback, ebook and audio through all good bookstores and online.


When the World was Flat


Looking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary.

When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.

But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.

When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.

An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.

Author Bio

Ingrid Jonach writes books for children and young adults, including the chapter books The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France published by Pan Macmillan, and When the World was Flat (and we were in love) published by Strange Chemistry.

Since graduating from university with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing (Hons) in 2005, Ingrid has worked as a journalist and in public relations, as well as for the Australian Government.

Ingrid loves to promote reading and writing, and has been a guest speaker at a number of schools and literary festivals across Australia, where she lives with her husband Craig and their pug dog Mooshi.

Despite her best efforts, neither Craig nor Mooshi read fiction.

Find out more at www.ingridjonach.com

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What a fun day it was yesterday. It was launch day and all seemed right with the world. After gym, I met with Rydges to discuss Conflux 9 arrangements. That went really well and you know April isn’t that far away. I needed to sort a few things so we can finalise the program. I know we had this idea of it being nice and compact and well shit that doesn’t cut it. The program is so jampacked, it’s splitting its packaging. BTW to find out more check out the Conflux website, which is now http://www.conflux.org.au

Then after a bit of work at home, I drove to Young, which is about 2.5 hours away by car. I’d never been there before but I wanted to have coffee with Valerie Parv (the amazing romance author). Valerie used to live in Canberra and used to be  handy. However, she abandoned us for the lovely town of Young. I must say I was very impressed with the place. Valerie is now also writing science fiction. I’ll tell you a secret. In her younger days, Valerie was an SF fan. I found her name in some old fan stuff a few years ago. So I thought I’d let her know about Conflux natcon because she has a book out called, Birthright. Here is the link to Amazon. Some great reviews there. http://www.amazon.com/Birthright-ebook/dp/B00A0C07BK/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1357853906&sr=8-13&keywords=birthright

And both Nicole and I thought that Conflux is the place for her to come and shout out about her book.

Anyway we had a great natter together for a couple of hours and then I came home. I love driving and I love seeing new places.

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So continuing on with the promotional stuff I have added a Facebook page for Rayessa and her own Twitter Account. She’s a bit wary because she’s stuck on an asteroid and doesn’t know anyone except Gris and various and dubious space pirates.

Her facebook page is here. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rayessa-the-Space-Pirates/413707248709192

On Twitter she’s @RayessaSpacePir

And her blog is here http://rayessaandthespacepirates.wordpress.com

More stuff to come. I have to put the thinking cap on. On 10 January, Alwin Anton is going to come to the rescue.

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This morning I created a dedicated Rayessa & the Space Pirates’ blog, which is to be focussed on readers. All the fun stuff I am doing for the launch will end up there and maybe a kind of diary of Rayessa’s life until the time when the story starts.

I’m happy for you to pop over and take a look. http://rayessaandthespacepirates.wordpress.com/

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Now I have a cover and a release date (10 Jan 2013) I can plan what promotion (mostly celebration) is going to happen. Today the lovely Nicole Murphy (http://nicolermurphy.com/) came over to do some Conflux organising and launch party brain storming.

For those of you who don’t know, Nicole and I are running the National Science Fiction Convention next year in Canberra over the Anzac Day period. Today we were scheduling the 20 diverse workshops we will be running as part of the convention. We are very excited about it. After we had settled that, we got down to brainstorming my launch party.

The launch party planning became a big thing. Here I was thinking I would have a themed party with people dressing up as space pirates or slaves. You can tell from the title there are space pirates and there is also a Centauri Slave Market featured. The lovely Matthew Farrer (http://matterfarrer.wordpress.com/)  also piped in with his ideas and now I’m doing a ‘Welcome to AllEarth Corp induction pack’ including a few novelties I will have to create or supply. (this means I have some work to do). We discussed props/house decorating stuff, food (including meatball asteroids and chocolate crackle asteroids), a purple coloured punch served out of haz chem bucket (Matt’s brilliant idea). I was thinking it would be a punch bowl and have been told a bucket with a haz chem symbol is what I need. There is going to be a lucky door prize, a pass the parcel prize, a trailer viewing, a reading (apparently I can’t outsource that part).

Because I have no physical book to display, I’ve been thinking hard about what I can do to let people take away something. My idea was a book mark thingy, with space on the back for an autograph. So I have that ball rolling. I’m just hoping Nicole doesn’t tell me my design is sucky, because it’s TOO LATE , Nicole! Also, as Conflux is coming up, the bookmarks can go into conbags. I’m sure I’ll get a discount, Hey Nicole? I’ll possibly have enough for another convention I’m going to in June.

While I was at the supermarket after Nicole went home, I also had the idea to make a cake in the shape of a space ship, my version of a space ship. So that’s all happening on the 19th of January and now I have to put my thinking cap on about the invites. As the launch party is at my house I have limited space. As it is in January a lot of people will be away so maybe it will work out.

I’ve already been on http://www.thinkgeek.com to get a few things I’ll need. The trouble with to do lists is that they give you things to do.

Also, promoting your work in this digital age is a new and exciting frontier. Will it work? I have no idea.

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So my earlier post mentioned that I was waiting for the cover and then I flicked back over to my email and it had snuck in.

You can imagine first cover and high anticipation levels.

So its romance and science fiction, a light-hearted escapade.


Rayessa and the Space Pirates_cvr

PS there are no man titties (thank goodness or Smart Bitches Trashy Books would be onto it).

PSS. To be published by Harlequin’s new digital imprint, Escape Publishing, January 10 Here.

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So I believe since my editor has mentioned the title during her blog tour, I can now mention it here. Kate Cuthbert is doing a blog tour and the interviews are interesting. Somehow she manages to vary the content or the particular personality of the interviewer puts a different slant on things. Links the her interviews are available here. I particularly liked yesterday’s one with Novels on the Run here.

So my young adult novella, Rayessa and the Space Pirates, is going to be released January 10. Nicole Murphy and I are going to brainstorm on the weekend about how I can celebrate the occasion with my friends. As the story features space pirates and a Centauri slave market, I’m thinking of a themed party where people come as space pirates (with a funny name to go with it) or in a’ I dream of Jeanie’ type costume (or male equivalent). I will have to think up some punch to go with it. (As a bit of history I am renown locally for themed parties, such as the Bad Taste Movie night (no dress required), Daggy Zombie Party (dress in clothes you wouldn’t be caught dead in) and the time travel theme for my 50th.) I’ve been busy of late with work so I haven’t done anything themed for a bit.

Where was I? Rayessa and the Space Pirates. This story started as a short story for a local anthology from CSFG Publishing called, Elsewhere edited by Michael Barry. However, at the time it was the longest short story I’d ever written (early days back in 2003) and I was thinking about how to end it when the space pirates turned up. I thought to myself, well that’s not helpful and gave up on it as a short story. I kept writing though wanting to find out what happened next. I ended up with my first novella. I sent it to couple of beta readers, young people mostly but their parents read it. I got feedback on the title, which was Lost Heritage back then and prior to that Space Audit. One parent said it was soft porn (which was shocking because there is no sex-though that might have been the tentacle reference) and the other parent suggested that a character was a bit risque at the end (one of the walk ins). Another beta reader, lovely Chris Andrews, gave me feedback. The most important dealing with a side character Gris. His suggestion was very helpful and made my main character better rounded as a result. Then it sat in my hard drive for many years.

I submitted it to a science fiction anthology looking at novellas. The comment was I liked it but not right. ( I thought year right. Humouring me). I sent it to a big publishing house where it was sent to the children’s section. Nice comments but rejected. I sent it to a small publishing house, which after many, many months I got a standard rejection. That’s it. That’s all it took for me to lose heart.

Over on the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild’s email list we’ve been discussing rejections and how many times people have been rejected before getting sold. I learned that I’m an utter wimp and that I give up way to easily and for many years words of encouragement were disregarded. I thought those editors were humouring me, just being nice. So for nine long years Rayessa and the Space Pirates didn’t get out much at all. My partner Matthew read it and liked it, but you know I didn’t believe him either. Most of my other friends haven’t read it. It was that deep in my hard drive.

There is a story here. Don’t give up. Don’t let negative self talk get in  your way. I did. I was my own worst enemy.

I wrote Rayessa and the Space Pirates as an adventure story. It was only at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in August that I also saw that it had a romance arc. (so I have cognitive issues as well so bite me). It was Harlequin’s announcement of Escape, their new digital imprint, that made me go back and look at the things that I write. There’s romance everywhere.

Digital publishing-so Rayessa and the Space Pirates is going to be digitally published. You know, I hadn’t given that medium much thought either until (the conference) and talking to Nicole Murphy. I have read ebooks, of course, mostly Angry Robot titles but I hadn’t thought about it. It’s growing of course, but I understand for romance it is already big.

I get with the Escape Publishing’s vision of bringing more titles to readers, of taking risks because there certainly has been a contraction in the print market. I’m grateful Kate and Keran inspired me to submit something. For me, a novella, is a toe in the water. I have other stuff hiding in my hard drive and other more recent stuff looking for agent and that dream deal. Fingers crossed I’ll get more published in future. I like the versatility of the digital medium. Put an ereader on your Christmas list.

A Rayessa and the Space Pirates teaser? Rae has been living on asteroid refueling station with just Gris, a brain damaged fellow, as company. They eke out an existence selling scrap from the station and a small hydroponics bay. One day a ship comes in, bringing an auditor from Allearth Corp and Rae’s life becomes very complicated.

This story was so much fun to write. I love the characters and the jokes and I love the imaginary world of the future where humans are living out in the solar system and beyond. Yes, the hero is an auditor. Odd I know. But I’m an auditor so I guess it’s a bit of write what you know.

I don’t as yet have a cover. (You can’t imagine the anticipation I am experiencing right now waiting to see it) but when I do and when I’m allowed, I’ll be sharing that with you, whether you like it or not.

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I received my edits for my YA space opera novella on Tuesday night. I had a stinking headache so couldn’t even glance at them. Wednesday being my writing day, I flexed by fingers in the morning and charged right in. I read the document through first to get a feel for what I was up against and I was pleasantly surprised.

I’m happy to say the edits were rather light. There was no taking out Australian idioms. Apparently I over used ellipses in this particular piece. I don’t normally over use them so I was surprised. I had to cut up a few chapters to make them similar lengths to the rest, which included new chapter titles and dovetailing the ends and the beginnings of those. Some very minor tweakage and I was done.

It’s short, 30,000 words so I finished the edits in the day. However, I printed it out to have a read over, which I did last night.

I do feel pressured so lucky for me my first time was only 30,000 words. I will probably freak when I get edits for a larger work.

The edits came in track changes, which I really hate mostly because of the RSI. However, I had something up my sleeve and also made the edits go rather quickly. My dictation software has a macro so that all I have to do is highlight the correction with the cursor and say
‘Accept change’ or ‘Reject change’. However, in my case I had just to say ‘Accept change’.

So last night, I emailed them off.
Time to go to work now.

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A while ago, I tweeted about receiving cry worthy happy news. Now I can talk about that news. I submitted a science fiction, young adult, romance novella to Harlequin Escape, a very new digital publisher, and it was accepted. Indeed, I did cry. I think it was from shock because I was in the car park at Queanbeyan and saw an email come in on my iphone. I thought I’ll read that rejection in the car. I thought there would be comments. As I sat in the car and scrolled through the message, I did a double take because it was an acceptance. So yes I cried a little bit in the car and rang Matthew to tell him the news. He brought me home lovely flowers. I might have a picture of these. Here it is. My first flowers from Matthew and they were lovely.

A congratulatory gift

I understand my title is due out in January. I can’t say what the title is because it is not official yet. I want to thank Romance Writers of Australia for it was their annual conference in August where I heard about this opportunity. I want to thank Harlequin for really going out there and taking risks with cross-genre works. I also want to that Nicole Murphy for basically twisting my arm to go to RWA Aus in August. I have been writing like a mad person ever since (I am that inspired). My house has not been cleaned properly since as a result. Long live the dust mites!

The next post will be about the fantastic, awesome and stunning launch of Harlequin Escape last night. I need to cook dinner first.

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